What we know of as Chateau Couhins-Lurton today dates back to the 1700’s when it was known as La Gravette Bourdieu. However, the modern era for Chateau Couhins-Lurton begins with the previous owner, the Gasqueton family, better known for owning Chateau Calon Segur in St. Estephe leased the property to the established Lurton family in 1967.
1967 marked the first vintage for the Lurton family at Chateau Couhins-Lurton. At the time, the production of Chateau Couhins was devoted to white wine.In fact, Chateau Couhins-Lurton is one of three Bordeaux estates that was only classified only for its white Bordeaux wine. In 1968, the original Couhins vineyard was divided into two parts.
The Gasqueton family sold the majority of the vineyards to the INRA, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. The chateau and wine cellars were sold to another party.
The Lurton family retained the rights to lease a portion of the vineyard, provided they rename the property, Couhins-Lurton. Andre Lurton purchased the vineyards over a period of time, in 1992 and then again in 2002, when the Lurton family was able to fully own the vineyard.
They purchased the original chateau that same year as well. This branch of the Lurton family owns several other Bordeaux Chateau including Chateau Dauzac in Margaux and Chateau La Louviere in Pessac Leognan. It’s interesting to note that the wines of Couhins-Lurton were actually made in La Louviere until 2001, when the estate added its own winery.
In 1994, Chateau Couhins-Lurton began producing red wine at the estate for the first time in almost 100 years. Interestingly, during much of the 19th century, Chateau Couhins-Lurton made mostly red wine. For 8 years, the red wines came from a combination of the estate’s vineyards and those of another Lurton owned vineyard, Chateau Coucheroy.
That changed in 2002, when the entire red wine production came exclusively from the vineyards of Chateau Couhins-Lurton. 2003 marked an interesting experiment when the estate became the first classified growth to bottle their wine using the Stelvin screw cap enclosure. In 2008, Couhins-Lurton was completely renovated from top to bottom.
The next important and newsworthy move for the Lurton family took place in 2012, when they entered into a business arrangement with the French bank Credit Agricole, who invested in the property.
In 2013, Chateau La Louviere hired Michel Rolland as their consultant in an effort to improve the wines and bring more attention to the estate. Denis Dubourdieu was named the consultant for the white wines and Michel Rolland was retained to consult on the red wines.
Chateau Couhins Lurton Vineyard, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 25 hectare vineyard of Chateau Couhins-Lurton is planted for red and white wine grapes. 19 hectares are reserved for the red wine grapes which are planted to 77% Merlot and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon. The terroir is gravel and sand soils.
6 hectares are used for the production of white Bordeaux wine. The only white wine grape planted here is Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, the estate is one of the few Pessac Leognan vineyards planted with a single grape varietal. The white wine vines are planted to a vine density of 6,500 vines per hectare. On average, the vines are 17 years of age. The terroir is a mix of gravel, sand and limestone soils.
To produce the white wine of Chateau Couhins Lurton, vinification takes place in barrel. There is no skin contact or malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged on its lees for between 9 to 10 months in an average of 30% new, French oak barrels. On average, close to 2,500 cases of white wine are produced at the estate each vintage.
The red wine of Chateau Couhins Lurton is vinified in a combination of temperature controlled, traditional, cement vats and temperature controlled stainless tanks. The wine is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for about 12 months, which varies, depending on the quality and character of the vintage. Close to 5,000 cases of red wine are produced each vintage.
Chateau Couhins-Lurton produces a correct, lighter style of Pessac Leognan that drinks well young that will please some tasters much more than others. The white wines are more interesting than the red wines from this estate.
When to Drink Chateau Couhins-Lurton, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Couhins-Lurton can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 1 hour or so. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Chateau Couhins-Lurton is usually better with at least 3-7 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Couhins-Lurton offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 7-14 years of age after the vintage. (Source: thewinecellarinsider.com)